Critical Mass

Roundup: Chuck Todd, A.N. Wilson, Lydia Millet, Norman Lear, Laila Lalami, and more

By Eric Liebetrau

Your reviews seed this roundup; please send items, including new about your new publications and recent honors, to Make sure to send links that do not require a subscription or username and password.


Scott Porch interviews Chuck Todd, author of “The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House,” for Salon and writes in the Daily Beast about the role Mark Whitaker's “Cosby: His Life and Times” played in the Bill Cosby story going viral.

Meganne Fabrega reviews “Birds of Pandemonium” by Michelle Raffin for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Parul Kapur Hinzen interviews poet Kevin Young on matters of race, art and identity in Guernica.

Adam Kirsch reviews “The End of Days” by Jenny Erpenbeck.

Rebecca Foust's book of narratively linked sonnets “Paradise Drive” just won the Press 53 Award for Poetry and will be released in 2015. Foust's essay “Venn Diagram” won the 2014 Constance Rooke Creative nonfiction prize and will appear, along with an author interview, in the next “Malahat Review.” The author was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in residence this year and spent two months living in Robert Frost’s farmhouse in Franconia NH, followed by two weeks at MacDowell.  

Carl Rollyson reviews 'Victoria: A Life,' by A.N. Wilson.

Bradley Sides reviews Lydia Millet's “Mermaids in Paradise.”

“Celebrating the season by snuggling between L.A. book covers,” from NBCC board member Carolyn Kellogg.

Julia M. Klein reviews Philip Ball's “Serving the Reich” for the Jewish Daily Forward.

“A gift guide for adventurous readers,” from David Ulin.

Diane Scharper reviews Richard Flanagan's “The Narrow Road to the Deep North.”

NBCC board member Rigoberto Gonzalez examines “The Humor and Heart in the Novels of Denise Chávez.”

Karl Wolff reviews “Muscle Cars,” by Stephen G. Eoannou.

Barbara Spindel reviews Norman Lear's memoir, “Even This I Get to Experience,” for the Barnes & Noble Review.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews Laila Lalami's novel “The Moor's Account.”

NPR's cool #bookconcierge app offers best 2014 booklists from Maureen Corrigan, Heller McAlpin, Jane Ciabattari and others.

Bill Williams reviews “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.

2013 Nona Balakian winner Katherine A. Powers reviews Hermione Lee's “Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life.” She also reviews David Peace's “GB84.”

Lori Feathers reviews “Limbo” by Melania G. Mazzucco.